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OPINION

Bank Audi reaches the top of the world

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When Lebanese climber Maxim Chaya reached the summit of Mount Everest in May, champagne glasses clinked in the executive rooms at Bank Audi. Three years ago, Lebanon’s second-biggest bank decided to take a punt on Chaya (whose brother Nabil heads the capital markets division at the bank) and sponsored him to the tune of $250,000 in his bid to become the first Lebanese to climb the highest point in each of the seven continents (he also trekked to the North and South Poles). Everest was the last stop.

The climb was not without incident and controversy. Along the way, Chaya came across British climber David Sharp. At the time Sharp was close to death, frozen from his knees and elbows down. Several other climbers had seen him but chose to ignore his plight, believing there was little they could do to save him. Chaya, however risked the success of his own expedition to attend to Sharp. An Australian climber, who was also present, says: “Max spent 90 minutes with him but he eventually realized there was nothing we could do. He was devastated and he didn’t want to leave him.”

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